I loved the late nights with my parents in the front room of our house. Before we had central air conditioning, we cranked our elbows to open the windows at every end of the house, hoping for a breeze to sweep through the room and momentarily relieve us from the heat. Dad in the La-Z-Boy by the window, my mother on the couch. My brother and I played with Barbies and Matchbox cars on the carpet, the humidity allowing it stick to our elbows and making little pink indentations on our skin. I loved the stale smell of that brown floor in summer, the way it always seemed old and inviting. When the heat got to be too much, Mom brought out the sheet, an old pink thing from my twin bed. Asking Jason and I for help, she tossed the sheet in the air and we jumped for the other corners to pull it loosely over the carpet in front of the TV. With fans all around me and the air heavy on my shoulders, I slurped Diet Pepsi and waited for the first pitch.
And when a storm blew in, we all started on separate corners of the house, closing the windows and laughing, falling heavily back onto the touch to listen to the thunder.
It’s an odd thing, to not feel that contentment living alone. To not feel that contentment once middle school ends. To not feel that contentment once your first student loan bill arrives. To not feel that contentment when you come home to an empty house every day.
I dealt well with the lack of contentment until this whole living alone gig. After middle school, I still felt giddy. The majority of that giddiness was killed with the student loan bills. But I still had some. And then I moved into my own apartment, where I close my own windows (all 4 of them) when it storms, and no one else laughs when Mrs. Doubtfire is on. And if I drop the shampoo in the shower, no one calls to see if I’m okay. My mother is notorious for this–even when the sound of something falling is in no way a person, she still yells, “Are you alright?” through the bathroom door. Sometimes, when I’m home at my parents’ house, I’ll drop the shampoo bottle in the shower just to hear my mother say this.
If I know Mike is coming to Ohio on the weekends, I save things for him to do. When a cabinet broke, even though I knew I could probably fix it, I waited for him. And when I needed electrical tape to fix my cell phone charger, I waited for him. When I saw a spider, I considered waiting for him, then realized it was a Wednesday, and I’d probably lose the little sucker before then.
The proportion of people living alone has doubled since the 1970’s. I understand liking space, but this sucks. It’s so boring. I just want someone to eat dinner with, maybe watch a little TV. Someone to TALK to. And all the people I talk to on a regular basis, well God love them, but sometimes we just don’t have anything to say. During these times, it would be perfect just to sit in a room with someone and not have to talk.
Until Mike gets here, I’ll close my own windows, and save things for “us” when I can.